Modern enterprise buyers are inundated by sales pitches and presentations that flood their inbox every day.
So, how do you make your pitch stand out from the noise?
Maybe you can picture a winning sales deck in your head but can’t quite put it into words on the screen. Or maybe you’re doing a lot of things right and just need to figure out what else you can improve.
In this article, you’re going to learn how to make a sales pitch with a 6-step framework that consistently gets results, with actionable sales presentation ideas to stand out and make the sale.
- Know Your Customer & Build Empathy
- Tee up the Problem for Your Solution
- Make a Splash with Your Reveal
- Quantify the Benefits & Summarize the Impact
- Give Your Customer Case Studies of Your Successes
- Summarize the Next Steps
Step 1: Know Your Customer & Build Empathy
Before you present to a customer, think about who you’re talking to. Do your homework and research who you’re meeting with to understand everything about their business and the individuals you will be presenting to.
Sources you need to search
- LinkedIn: Read their profiles and recent posts.
- Google: Google their name. What do they make public about themselves?
- Facebook, Twitter, and other social media: Find out where they post, and what circles they run in.
Go deeper than just names and titles. Try to anticipate the flow of the meeting, and systematically plan different approach strategies for different situations.
Then, during the meeting, put that knowledge on display. Show your customer you understand their needs, and get them nodding along to your understanding of their problem.
The goal is to build empathy. A customer who can trust you is one who is willing to do business with you.
Step 2: Tee up the Problem for Your Solution
You need to create a bridge from the prospect’s problems to your solution. A key step is abstracting your customer’s issues into powerful visualizations and summary statements.
Everything you put into your sales presentation should be setting up why the prospect needs your product. Now is the time to align their issues with your product’s features, before you actually pitch your product.
Sales pitch tips
Map out process flows and value chains. Visualize the systems your customer is used to seeing, then align the problem to their process.
Call out specific departments and work teams. Get granular in your visualizations about where responsibilities lie.
Divide internal and external issues. Clearly identify what issues are pressures from within your customer’s company versus what issues are external
Replace blocks of text with icons and graphics. Don’t just use words to summarize. Uplevel issues with pictures and graphics.
Get at the root of the issue. Problems often span many levels of the organization. Your customer needs to see that you understand their issues at the correct level.
3 mistakes to avoid when showing problem statements
Don’t raise any problems that you and your solution can’t solve. Stay focused on the positive.
Don’t surprise your customer by trying to solve problems they don’t care about. The problem statement should be easy for them to agree with.
Don’t be too eager to solve their problems yet. Wait until after you show your product the first time to begin solving problems.
Step 3: Make a Splash with Your Product Reveal
This is it, your moment to make an entrance.
You’ve set the stage with expectations and guided the conversation towards your solution. Now you can make a splash with all the beautiful graphics and marketing slogans you’ve been waiting to unleash.
Make this reveal the most memorable part of your pitch. Like this example from Zuora.
If you’ve set up the front of your sales presentation well, all the issues and concepts your product can solve will already be top of mind for your customers. This saves you from having to restate that content here.
Any problems you can solve should already be familiar to your customer by this point.
In a similar vein, if you fail to address any of the issues you’ve raised before now, you’ll lose audience interest and fail your pitch. Don’t surprise them by adding any new problems they haven’t already been thinking about, but always deliver on a solution for any problems you’ve mentioned.
Graphics, graphics, graphics
Keep your established graphical theme, and expand on the problem statement graphics you’ve already used. Too many words will muddy the waters. Stay high-level and visual. Don’t burden this slide with every potential feature and fix.
Focus this section on you and what your customer needs to know about your product. Keep this slide simple and memorable. Customers will look back to this slide to remember exactly what your pitch was.
This example from Zuora does a good job of illustrating their value, which would be hard to express in words.
Step 4: Quantify the Benefits and Summarize the Impact
Don’t forget about metrics. B2B buyers and users cling to numbers, and lacking numbers means you will lose credibility. You should already have stated what your intentions are and phrased the issues in ways you can help. Now you need to back up those statements with hard facts.
Showing success metrics is an easy way to increase deal value.
Quick tips for using metrics
Use metrics your customer cares about. Your product should integrate with what your customer already uses to measure success.
Bigger is better, but if your numbers aren’t helping with issues your customer cares about, you’ll lose credibility.
Make sure you can defend any figure you put on the screen. Citing sources is a big win.
Don’t dwell too long on stats that are outside your core messaging. Random callouts can be helpful, but should be treated as secondary to supporting your value statements.
Use visuals to drive home numbers
Visuals are still important when displaying numbers. Use boxes and large fonts rather than boring tables whenever possible.
Think about how you want the numbers on the slide to be read, and design around that intention. Just because you are displaying evidence doesn’t mean it has to read like a courtroom.
Notice in this example, how attractive it can be to treat statistics as visual elements.
Step 5: Give Your Customer Case Studies of Your Successes
Customers want to know that your product works as intended, and for enterprise products that means case studies. You should cite 100% supportable evidence from implementations you’ve already done. The purpose here is to increase confidence that you know what you’re pitching and can deliver success to your customers.
Tips for killer case studies
This will be a dense slide, as you’ll need to include things like customer background and metrics from the implementation.
In this example, notice that the brand names stand out. The rest of the text is small, so it discourages your audience from reading. That will help you hold their attention as you tell the customer stories in an engaging way.
Don’t be afraid to leave this as reading for your customer after the presentation is over. Ideally, this will be a piece of evidence floated around target companies, supporting your product after the pitch ends.
Do your diligence ahead of time to get this case study fact checked and approved by the customer cited in it. If not, make sure to correctly ambiguate the customer to avoid legal complications.
If you don’t have a case study, get one! Your customers will be looking for evidence that this isn’t your first rodeo.
What to put on the slide for your case studies
Highlight high level or big impact callouts at the top of the slide or front and center. This will draw eyes to the takeaway during your pitch presentation.
Quotes are powerful statements because they put your potential customer in the same successful state of mind as the customer in the case study.
Pleasing visuals keep these technical slides from getting drab.
Numbers, numbers, numbers! Don’t use words if a statistic will do the job.
Step 6: Summarize the Next Steps
End your pitch with a call to action. Outline what next steps look like for your customer so they aren’t left wondering.
The last slide should be your roadmap to implementation, starting right then with the conclusion of your pitch. Prepare like you’ve already won, and begin leading them down the path to a closed deal.
Tips for Ending Your Presentation
Be prescriptive. This should be a roadmap, not a series of vision statements
Outline steps that can be done immediately, even prior to closing a deal
Show long-term thinking, but not too long term. Stay couched in the actionable and immediate. Plans that detail too far out in the future will distract from what you want your customer to be thinking about right now
Keep action lists to three or five points. They’ll stick in memory better and are easiest to track
An actionable next steps plan will be the final period at the end of a successful pitch. Your customer wants to know — and will know if you do this correctly — what’s next at the end of the pitch, so don’t disappoint.
A strong finish leaves a good final impression in the minds of your customers.
Now is the Time to Pitch
That’s really all there is to it. How do you make your pitch stand out from the noise? Stay focused on the customer and what you can do for them. Then create a presentation you would be happy to sit through if you were in the prospect’s seat.
If you do that, you’ll find yourself winning more pitches than ever before. So get out there and start pitching!
Have any sales pitch secrets? Share them in the comments below.